«And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away» (Isaiah 35: 10).
An old Rabbinic legend has it that when Joseph was the governor of Egypt during the years of famine, despite having full barns, he found it difficult to distribute the grains. Frequently, the people grew desperate for not having immediate access to food and thought they were going to die because of its absence. However; the legend has it that Joseph had an idea to help the others keep their hope alive and prolong their life until the grain was delivered. Regularly, the governor ordered that large amounts of straw be thrown into theNile. In its very long journey, the flow carried these little pieces of straw to all the regions, implying that there was still a lot of wheat available and nobody would perish.
The day-to-day examples of God’s love in our life, even if they are small details of how He takes care of us, are like these small pieces of straw which gives us the hope that Jehovah will put a stop to such pain and sadness. Today’s verse clearly talks about an everlasting joy for the redeemed ones and about a detachment from sorrow and sighing. Even if the prophecy mainly refers to the captives’ joy when they returned to Jerusalem, it is also intended for us—who live in the Christian era—to think about the New Jerusalem where joy will be eternal through the redemption that is in Jesus.
Some studies on depression say that elderly people (especially men) run a higher risk of experiencing depressive symptoms than their middle age counterparts. The explanation lies in the decline of physical strength and the nearness of the end of life which can drive many into desperation. However, for the believers, this stage of physical decline can be very different. The greatest factors in preventing and fighting depression include the following: reflecting on the subject of salvation by the grace of God and the hope of eternal life, and contemplating on the happiness, joy and the lack of sadness as promised in the Bible.
In moments of discouragement, utter together with the Psalmist, «You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance» (Ps. 32:7). Afterwards, go on and imagine and reflect on that state of eternal joy promised by today’s verse. The promise is not valid only for eternity but also for today.